Was Dillinger Killed by the FBI Part 3
About the debate over whether the FBI killed infamous gangster John Dillinger or the wrong man, James Lawrence.
Was Dillinger Really Killed by the FBI?
The fingerprint card offered up by the FBI alleging that Dillinger's and the dead man's fingerprints were one and the same was obviously "planted" in the Cook County Morgue days before the killing.
The FBI was simply duped into believing the dead man was Dillinger and then had to cover up their error after the shooting.
Who then was Jimmy Lawrence? ... He was a small-time hoodlum who came from Wisconsin to Chicago about 1930. He was seen in the neighborhood of the Biograph for at least two years, long before John Dillinger, inmate 13225 of the Michigan City Prison, was ever paroled.
That he was involved in an underworld scheme to provide Dillinger with a permanent escape there is no doubt. Whether or not he was a willing dupe to the Sage-Zarkovich plot (both had a 15-year record of strong ties to the underworld) is unknown. Perhaps, because of his heart condition, Lawrence may have volunteered for the role. That, too, is unknown.
But it is known that John Herbert Dillinger, a pragmatic but spectacular escape artist, eluded the law in the end.
The last Dillinger gang went to pieces in 1934. Eddie Green was shot in the back by FBI officials Apr. 3, 1934. Tommy Carroll was killed by policemen in Waterloo, Ia., June 5, 1934. Homer Van Meter was gunned down in an alleyway, betrayed by friends, in St. Paul, Aug. 23, 1934. Baby Face Nelson, in a wild shoot-out with two FBI men (both killed by him) was shot to death near Barrington, Ill., Nov. 27, 1934. John Hamilton's body was never found; reports have it that after receiving a fatal wound in a fight with police, his body was buried in an isolated quarry outside of Aurora, Ill., in April, 1934. Russell Clark was paroled in 1970 and died of cancer months later.
In September, 1934, [Harry] Pierpont and [Charley] Makley [two other gangland cronies] tried to duplicate Dillinger's Crown Point ruse. [Dillinger had once escaped from the Crown Point, Ind., jail with a fake pistol he carved from a bar of soap and darkened with shoe polish.] They carved pistols from cakes of soap and attempted to escape death row in the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. Makley was shot to death and Pierpont wounded.
The following month, Handsome Harry Pierpont sat down almost jubilantly in the electric chair. Through a wide smile he said: "Today I am the only man who knows the 'who's and how's' and as my end comes very shortly, I'll take this little story with me."
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